College majors with the highest starting salaries

One of the smartest financial decisions you can make as you head to college is your major. Choosing a major with a higher starting salary might ensure you can pay off your student loans faster and start saving for bigger future purchases. 

If part of your decision is based on future salary prospects, you can take quite a few avenues.

engineer at desk

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What are the majors with the highest starting salary?

It might be no surprise that many of the highest starting salaries have something to do with engineering. Whether it’s computer or electrical engineering — there are many jobs with an average starting salary over $65k. The average depends on your major and which school you graduated from, with MIT, UC Berkely, and the Naval Academy at the top of those lists.

The Majors to Study

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Based on a recent study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) that looked at the top-earning majors for the class of 2020, these are the majors with the highest average starting salaries.

Petroleum Engineering

Average Starting Salary: $87,989

Computer Programming

Average Starting Salary: $86,098

Computer Science

Average Starting Salary: $85,766

Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering

Average Starting Salary: $80,819

Computer and Information Science

Average Starting Salary: $73,558

Computer Engineering

Average Starting Salary: $75,022

Applied Mathematics

Average Starting Salary: $73,558

Chemical Engineering

Average Starting Salary: $72, 713

Materials Engineering

Average Starting Salary: $70,958

Applied Physics

Average Starting Salary: $67,541

Should you study these majors?

We would never suggest studying a major simply based on the average starting salary. There are so many factors that go into salary decisions that it’s never guaranteed you’ll start there.

It’s also vital that you’re interested and dedicated to what you’re studying. Otherwise, you might not have the long-term drive to continue pursuing it. However, if these majors call to you, and you want to set yourself up for financial success in the future, they’re great options.